A special Service of Installation took place in Lisburn Cathedral on 20th February, 2022. The Rt Rev George Davison was welcomed to the Cathedral as Bishop by the Dean of Connor, the Very Rev Sam Wright, and invited inside, where he was greeted by a congregation made up predominantly of young people.
At Bishop George’s request, the special Service of Installation, which due to the Covid-19 pandemic took place two years after Bishop George’s appointment, was focused on the youth of the diocese.
It was young people who led the readings and prayers, and members of Connor Youth Forum who read the Charge to the Bishop – one they had written themselves.
As is tradition, Bishop George knocked on the Cathedral door with his pastoral staff to gain admission. Afterwards, he and members of the Chapter of St Saviour (Connor) processed to the front where he was formally installed by the Dean, following the reading of the Mandate from the Archbishop of Armagh by Diocesan Registrar, the Rev Canon Willian Taggart. He was led to his episcopal seat by the Dean.
In his opening greeting, Bishop George spoke about the delay to this service: “The installation of a new Bishop is the moment when, having been duly appointed by the Church and ordained by the Archbishop, the Bishop arrives in the Diocesan Cathedral to begin their work as the Bishop – normally,” he said.
“For all sorts of reasons, mostly to do with that little virus… we have had to do things a little bit differently this time around so, having been elected to succeed Bishop Alan two years ago last week, it has taken until now to be able to have this service.
“Let me assure you that during that time, I have been working as the Bishop… popping in and out of Cathedrals uninstalled on a number of occasions, so I don’t really feel like the new Bishop anymore!”
He said the ministry of a Bishop was one of leadership, but also one of partnership with every person in the diocese who has heard the call of Jesus, adding that not least, that meant a partnership with young people. “In taking on this role, I do so in partnership with you, and I am so grateful to you for being here,” he told the young people in the congregation.
Bishop George made special mention of Connor Youth Forum who shared in the leading of the service and who prepared their Charge for him. “I have no doubt as we share together in this service, it will be a meaningful beginning to the formal ministry that I exercise in this place,” he said.
The Charge was put to Bishop George by Youth Forum members Isaac and Maddie, but first, the two young people put questions to the Bishop around his journey in ministry and his role as Bishop.
In their Charge, they challenged Bishop George to continue to be radical in sharing the Gospel; to be a very public Christian leader in order to counter negative views on the Church held by many non-Christian young people; to equip young people in evangelism; to support young people to connect with other parishes; and to share his wisdom with them.
Bishop George responded that he was massively encouraged by this Charge. “The things that you have said to me are things that I have been thinking about,” he said.
In another break from tradition, Diocesan Youth Officer Christina Baillie invited the congregation to pick up their phones and connect to Menti, an online app. She encouraged young people to share their blessings for Bishop George, and these quickly started appearing on the big screen. Those watching at home on the YouTube livesteam were also able to take part.
Some of the many, many blessings that scrolled on the screen were read out by Christina, who thanked everyone for taking part. “That feels really powerful,” she said.
Praise was led by the Cathedral worship band. The readers were Maddie and Lauren, and Lucas and Ella led the prayers. The service was led by Dean Wright and the Rev Danielle McCullagh. Bishop George’s address was on the theme of the service: Called to Serve.
Afterwards, everyone was invited to the Cathedral Hall for hot dogs, cupcakes and hot chocolate, and a chance to have their picture taken with the newly-installed Bishop in a special photo booth, before heading home ahead of Storm Franklin.
Bishop George Davison will be installed in St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, on 13th March, 2022.
You can read lots more news from the Diocese of Connor on their website.